Greg Slaughter grateful for selection in PBA All-Star game despite certainty of skipping annual spectacle  
Ginebra big man Greg Slaughter begs off from this year's PBA All-Star game. Jerome Ascano

GREG Slaughter expressed his gratitude to Barangay Ginebra and PBA fans alike for keeping their trust in him by voting the 7-foot slotman as part of South team’s starting unit in the coming All-Star game.

Unfortunately, in as much as he wanted to play, his recent ankle surgery and the rehabilitation he’s undergoing at the moment would keep him out of the August 7 spectacle at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The list of starters for both the North and South squads were released by the league on Saturday.

“Extremely grateful and honored to have been chosen as a starter in the upcoming PBA all-star game,” expressed the 28-year-old center out of Ateneo in his twitter account@GWillSlaughter

“Unfortunately, I’m still in the process of recovering from my surgery so I won’t be able to play.”

The 2013 top overall pick went under the knife two months ago to remove bone spurs on his ankle, necessitating his being sideline for at least four months or at least, an early return by September.

The injury kept him from suiting up with Gilas Pilipinas in the last Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament and has so far missed the early part of the season-ending Governors Cup for the Kings.

Despite out of action since May, fans still voted Slaughter – through online polls and ticket purchases – as part of the starting unit of the South team along with fellow big man June Mar Fajardo, Ginebra teammates Scottie Thompson and Joe Devance, along with Star’s James Yap. They will be handled by San Miguel coach Leo Austria.

“Good luck to my teammates and thank you for the opportunity,” said Slaughter, while adding the hashtag #2016PBAAllStarGame #NSD.

League media bureau chief Willie Marcial said Slaughter’s position will be aptly replaced.

Meanwhile, the North team will be led by Calvin Abueva of Alaska, Star’s Marc Pingris, Globalport’s Terrence Romeo, and the Ginebra duo of Japeth Aguilar and Mark Caguioa. Coach Yeng Guiao will calls the shots for the squad.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos